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Gretchen Aucoin enters this weekend as the Big 12 leader with an 0.43 ERA in the circle.

Feb. 27, 2014

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LUBBOCK, Texas - Texas Tech opens its 2014 home slate Friday afternoon with the start of the Texas Tech Invitational where the Red Raiders will face Rhode Island and Sam Houston State in doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday before closing the weekend with a 12:30 p.m. first pitch against Abilene Christian. This is the first of 10-straight games for the Red Raiders at Rocky Johnson Field as Texas Tech will host its fourth-annual Jeannine McHaney Memorial Classic next weekend, March 7-9.

The Red Raiders open their home slate this weekend with the Texas Tech Invitational after spending the first three weekends of the season on the road. It is the third-straight season where Tech has been on the road for the first three weekends of its season as the Red Raiders played their first 16 games of 2012 and the first 15 contests in 2013 away from home. This is the first of two-straight home weekends for the Red Raiders, who will host the fourth-annual Jeannine McHaney Memorial Classic on March 7-9, bringing in the likes of Northern Colorado, UT Arlington, Abilene Christian and Abilene Christian.

Texas Tech will return to the friendly confines of Rocky Johnson Field next weekend for the fourth-annual Jeannine McHaney Memorial Classic. The Red Raiders open the three-day tournament March 7 against Abilene Christian before facing Northern Colorado, UT Arlington and New Mexico State over the course of the next two days. The tournament will end a 10-game homestand for Tech, its longest of the season.

The Red Raiders head into this weekend's Texas Tech Invitational opener against Sam Houston looking to build on their 12-6 record all-time in home openers. Tech enters its 2:30 p.m. first pitch with Sam Houston State having opened its home slate with a victory in each of the last four seasons, including an 18-0 rout of Jackson State a year ago. Tech's last in a home opener came on March 10, 2009, when No. 9 Oklahoma arrived in Lubbock and swept a doubleheader to open Big 12 Conference play. The Red Raiders have never opened their home schedule with Sam Houston State previously as this will be the Bearkats first trip to Lubbock.

• Sam Houston State will make its first ever trip to Lubbock this weekend as the Red Raiders and Bearkats are facing each other for the second-straight season. Texas Tech split a two-game set with Sam Houston last year, falling, 4-0, in the round-robin portion of the Texas Shootout before coming back the following day with an 8-3 victory. Last season's meeting marked the first between Tech and Sam Houston since 1997. The Bearkats control a 3-2 all-time advantage in the series.
• Rhode Island will be the fourth first-time opponent for the Red Raiders this season as Texas Tech has previously faced Akron, Weber State and Creighton already this season.
• Abilene Christian and Texas Tech will renew their series against each other this weekend for the first time since 1998 as ACU is currently in its first season as a Division-I opponent as part of the Southland Conference. The Red Raiders are 8-0 all-time against the Wildcats, including a 4-0 record in games played in Lubbock.

• Texas Tech's 10-5 start matches its record through the first 15 games from the 2013 season where the Red Raiders eventually ended the year 30-26 overall.
• The Red Raiders are coming off their best weekend of the season as Texas Tech went 4-1 at the UTA Hilton Invitational with wins over the host Mavericks along with Creighton, UMKC and Illinois. Tech had previously gone 3-2 over the first two weekends of the season at the Lions Classic and Troy Cox Classic.
• Of Texas Tech's five losses this year, the Red Raiders have dropped four by two or less runs and three by just one run. Tech is currently 27-17 all-time under Shanon Hays in one-run games and 21-18 in two-run games.
• The Texas Tech pitching staff enters this weekend with a 2.43 ERA, its lowest through the first 15 games of a season since 2010 when the Red Raiders recorded a 2.15 ERA to go along with a 14-1 record in the first season under Shanon Hays.
• The Texas Tech pitching staff has recorded its lowest ERA with a balanced staff that features three Red Raiders - Gretchen Aucoin, Cara Custer and Brittany Talley - with at least 26 innings pitched so far this season. Tech is the only Big 12 program to boast a pitching staff with three members already tossing at least 26 innings this season.
• Texas Tech is the only Big 12 program with two pitchers ranked in the top five of the conference in ERA entering this weekend as Gretchen Aucoin leads the league with a 0.43 ERA while Brittany Talley is fifth with a 1.30 ERA.
• The Red Raiders have also found success at the plate despite a young roster that normally consists of four or five freshmen in the starting lineup. Texas Tech is hitting .309 on the year which ranks fourth currently in the Big 12.
• Texas Tech is the only Big 12 program with three players ranked among the top-10 hitters in the conference for batting average as Cassie McClure ranks second with a .457 average while Sydni Emanuel is sixth at a .404 clip and Samantha Camello is 10th at a .382 average.
• A year after breaking the school record for doubles, Texas Tech is once again one of the top teams in the Big 12 for the category as the Red Raiders have totaled a conference-leading 23 doubles through 15 games. Tech totaled 89 doubles in 2013 which broke the previous mark of 84 from the 2011 season.
• The 2014 Texas Tech club has been among the most aggressive teams on the base paths during the Shanon Hays era as the Red Raiders have stolen 26 bases already this season which ranks second currently in the Big 12. It marks the most stolen bases for a Tech team under Hays through the first 15 games of a season.

Gretchen Aucoin, coming off an impressive weekend in the circle, is the Big 12 leader in ERA entering the Texas Tech Invitational as she has posted 0.43 ERA through 32.2 innings. Aucoin allowed just one earned run over 19.0 innings last weekend at the UTA Hilton Invitational where she struck out 26 hitters, 17 of which that came Saturday in 10 total innings against both Illinois and Creighton.
Gretchen Aucoin recorded her Big 12-leading third save already this season last Friday afternoon against Creighton, moving her one shy of matching the Texas Tech single-season and career records in saves. Erin Crawford currently controls the single-season record with four saves during the 2006 season while Crawford (2003-06), Amanda Renfro (1998-01) and Jule Hauck (2004-06) share the career mark with six saves.
• Like Aucoin, Brittany Talley has also been solid in the circle this season as the senior is 4-0 with a 1.30 ERA. It is Talley's best start to a season since her 2011 freshman campaign where she opened the year 8-0 with a 2.36 ERA.
Sydni Emanuel enters this weekend riding a 12-game hitting streak that is the longest for a Red Raider since Adriana Perez hit safely in 14 games during the 2012 season. If Emanuel hits safely in all five games this weekend, it would be the longest hitting streak for a Red Raider since Elyssa Sigala and her school record 21-straight games in 2004.
• In addition to her work reaching base, Sydni Emanuel is also among the Big 12 leaders in stolen bases as she ranks second with 11 so far this season. Brejae Washington of Texas leads the conference with 13 stolen bases while fellow Red Raider Lea Hopson is tied for fourth with 10 stolen bases.
Lea Hopson enters this weekend as the only Red Raider to reach base in all 15 games this season. Former Tech standouts Emily Bledsoe and Shelby Johnson reached base previously in the first 34 and 30 games during the 2013 and 2011 seasons.
Samantha Camello boasts the longest starting streak for a young Red Raider team as the sophomore has started in all 71 games of her Texas Tech career. Camello ranks 10th currently in the Big 12 with a .385 batting average.
Brittany Warnecke has been one of the most patient hitters at the plate this year for the Red Raiders as the freshman has totaled nine walks this year which ranks tied for fourth currently in the Big 12.
Cara Custer enters this weekend one win shy of moving into sole possession of third all-time at Texas Tech as she is tied with Erin Crawford (2003-06) currently with 42 career wins. Custer is 3-3 so far this season in eight appearances.
Cara Custer has a chance this weekend to become just the fifth Red Raider all-time to record 300 career strikeouts. Custer has totaled 298 strikeouts in her two-plus seasons at Tech which is tied for fifth currently with Sarah Losleben (2005-08).

Gretchen's Aucoin 2-1 record last weekend in the UTA Hilton Invitational really doesn't show how dominate the sophomore was in the circle. Aucoin appeared in four of Texas Tech's five games on the weekend, tossing 19.0 total innings where she allowed just one earned run while striking out 26 hitters. In Saturday's doubleheader against Illinois and Creighton, Aucoin combined for 10.0 innings, surrendering just two unearned runs off three hits. She started off the day with eight strikeouts in four innings of relief to pick up the extra-innings win over Illinois. She followed up by returning to the circle 30 minutes later to match her career high with nine strikeouts in a 1-0 loss to Creighton. Aucoin enters this weekend as the Big 12 leader with a 0.43 ERA as she has allowed just two earned runs in 32.1 innings this season.




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